Garden House

Austin Maynard Architects

Located on a long and narrow street lined with long and narrow blocks, Garden House in Melbourne is a wholly unexpected home. At street-view, the simple, domestic scale garage appears to be the house in its entirety. Walk down the side pedestrian walkway and the main front door opens up to reveal a much bigger property concealed within – like discovering Narnia at the end of a literal yellow brick road.

The owners had a detailed and specific brief, wanting a super modern, long-term family home that could change and adapt over time. The project sits on an unusual block, which included a tired, single-fronted cottage facing the street with a 1980s addition, while the rear opened out onto a large private garden.

Though the owners wanted a home with the capacity to regularly entertain dozens of people, space for their three children to grow up, and a dedicated office/conference room, they didn’t want the feeling of a big house. Instead, the bulk of the home is broken up into four distinct elements appearing as separate buildings, ‘invisibly’ connected via mirrored glass corridors that reflect the deep-rooted garden.

Garden House was designed to function off grid and is completely self-powered, all-electric with no connection to the gas network. The family’s electric car is also completely powered by the house, ensuring they never have to pay for power or fuel. Garden House integrates many environmentally sustainable design principals with high performing materials and services to create a family home that is conscious and considered. More than just a home, Garden House is a power station, pushing far more sustainable energy back into our shared energy grid than it uses.


Lighting: Unios. Finishes: The Brick Recyclers, EC Carpets, The Brick Recyclers, Rusto Concrete, Artedomus, Urban Edge Ceramics, Luxaflex, D&C Design, Hafele, Blum, Dulux, Rusto Concrete. Fittings & Fixtures: Artedomus, Blanco, Gaggenau, Liebherr, Whispair,  Miele, Franke, Toto: Corian, Zucchetti, Rogersellar, Geberit, Apaisier, Argent.


Photography: Derek Swalwell